Winning formula may be about to change
There was a reliable short cut to the winners of all three juvenile Group races at the Newmarket July Festival — each was trained by Richard Hannon — and the same ruse has been paying off this week for those who backed Zebedee and King Torus.
The latter, of course, had been among those to win for Hannon at Newmarket and another, Libranno, brings an unbeaten record to the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes today.
While it might seem perverse to abandon the formula now, the fact is that two of Libranno's four rivals at Newmarket ran below their best — and he likewise profited from a tactical advantage, in gaining first run on Neebras. The time was good, in fairness, and Libranno has the speed and experience to set the standard today.
Just for once, however, Hannon and Richard Hughes may have to yield centre stage to another of the season's most fertile partnerships.
Paul Hanagan can count just one Pattern race among the 111 winners he has ridden in opening up his surprise lead in the jockeys' championship.
Having showcased his talents at Royal Ascot, Marine Commando (4.0) can now do the same here — with a due nod to Hanagan's boss. For this colt is typical of the ammunition Richard Fahey has been providing Hanagan all season, being expertly bought and trained.
Having met interference and run green when winning first time out at Carlisle, Marine Commando did much the same in the Windsor Castle Stakes, finishing with a gusto that implied this sharp six will suit him ideally. The form looks pretty solid, and this colt also looks the type to improve as he progresses physically.
Jacqueline Quest (5.15) has been found a perfect opportunity by Henry Cecil in the Oak Tree Stakes, having shown her run in the 1,000 Guineas to be rather more than a fluke when third in the Coronation Stakes.